In this morning's news...
Number of school districts in financial trouble increasing
The Detroit News reports on the number of Michigan school districts in financial trouble.
In each of the last eight fiscal years, their graph shows, the number of Michigan school districts running deficits has risen:
Altogether, 48 districts — their finances battered by rising benefit costs and state aid cuts — are under monthly monitoring by the Michigan Department of Education. The number of school systems in the red has soared over the past decade after bottoming out at 10 in fiscal 2003.
The Detroit and Highland Park school systems are already under the control of a state-appointed emergency manager. Muskegon Heights might be next.
Detroit's bus system absorbing more cuts
Michigan Radio's Sarah Cwiek reports that "1,000 city workers will be laid off next week, including 78 bus drivers and 25 mechanics, according to Naomi Patton, a spokeswoman for Detroit Mayor Dave Bing."
It's bad news for bus riders who have been dealing with poor service from the city's system.
Cwiek spoke with Megan Owens of the advocacy group Transportation Riders United about the cuts:
“I don’t know whether to be disappointed, or just outraged,” Owens said. “That cut after cut, promise after promise of improved service, that the people of Detroit can’t depend on the city to provide even the most basic bus service.”
A public hearing is scheduled for February 24.
Gov. Snyder signs bills aimed at stopping protests at funerals
Protesting a funeral is not something one thinks of doing everyday, unless your goal is to get attention. That's the goal of the Westboro Baptist Church when they display their hateful slogans directed toward the gay community at military funerals. The Supreme Court upheld their right to their speech, but Michigan has passed laws to put limits on it:
Snyder’s office announced late Tuesday that bills signed would make it a felony to protest or otherwise engage in disorderly conduct within 500 feet of a funeral, memorial service, viewing, procession or burial.
MLive reports the bills clarify an existing state law directed at funeral disruptions.